Aug 1, 2008

India - E-super highway to bring together school/varsities

To bring all the educational and research institutions in the country on to a common platform where they can share resources and expand collaborative research, the government is going to launch a broadband network, the National Knowledge Network (NKN).The network, which will interconnect institutions like the IITs and the Central universities, would be established in six months, S Regunathan, Advisor, National Knowledge Commission (NKC), said. The NKN would have a capacity of 15 GB, making it the fastest and largest network of its kind in the country.With a capacity to connect institutions up to the school level, the network would provide immense opportunities to all institutions in the country to share data within seconds, Regunathan said on the sidelines of eIndia 2008, a conference on information and communications technology.In the budget for 2008-09, Minister of Finance P Chidambaram had allocated Rs 100 crore for the Ministry of Information and Technology to operationalise the network. Following this, the government formed a high-level committee headed by Dr R Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government, to set up the network.The NKN, once it is in place, would also become the first major recommendation by the National Knowledge Commission to be operationalised by the government. Many of the NKC’s recommendations, like the setting up of an Independent Regulatory Authority for Higher Education, was a point of contention with government bodies, particularly the Ministry of Human Resource Development.The Committee, at present, is finalising the network’s various aspects and is in touch with various stakeholders like the institutions to be connected, Regunathan said. Accordingly, all the institutions like the Central and state universities, IITs, the National Institutes of Technology, and premier research bodies like the Indian Institute of Science would come under the network.The network also gains importance at a time when the government is expanding higher and technical education in the country by opening new IITs, IIMs, and Central universities.With a shortage of efficient faculty being a major problem, the network is expected to address such concerns through the sharing of knowledge between various institutions.

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